Stefan Noesen has seen enough of Milan Lucic taking dangerous runs at his rookie teammate.
It happened again early in the second period of San Jose's 6-2 home loss to the Calgary Flames at SAP Center on Monday night. Calgary led 3-1 when Sharks rookie defenseman Mario Ferraro went behind his own net to retrieve a puck. When his back was square to Lucic, the Flames' forward plowed directly into it with a dangerous hit.
In many ways, it looked awfully similar to a hit Lucic laid on Ferraro in the Sharks' 3-1 win over the Flames in Calgary last week.
Lucic wasn't called for a penalty in either situation. So, the second time around, Noesen took matters into his own hands -- since the officials had neglected to -- and went right after the larger Lucic.
The two combatants both dropped the gloves, but were quickly separated before a fight really could get going. To San Jose's extreme displeasure, Noesen somehow ended up with an extra two-minute minor, resulting in a power play for the Flames. After the game, Noesen thought Lucic deserved much more than a penalty for the hit(s).
"That's back-to-back games he has had the exact same hit," Noesen said of Lucic. "Same player, same everything. Something's gotta change. You can't ... you can't let that guy do that every single time. Luckily, Mario didn't get hurt this time. Last time, he had a bloody eye. If he goes down and he's laying on the ice, it's probably going to be a suspension. But the fact that he got up right away, they're not going to call anything like that. To me, it's bulls--t."
Sharks interim coach Bob Boughner didn't view the hit as egregiously as Noesen did, but still felt like the officials missed the call.
"Yeah, I'd like to see them protect the players in those situations," Boughner said, "when you're going back for pucks and you've got your back turned and there's no hold-up -- we're not allowed to do that, obviously, anymore. You're not allowed to obstruct, so you've got to make sure that you protect guys. I thought it was a bit high, but it's not my call."
Ferraro isn't the only one who has been a recent target of Lucic's.
In San Jose's 3-1 win in Calgary last Tuesday, Lucic surprised Sharks forward Evander Kane with a big hit. His linemate, Barclay Goodrow, came to his immediate defense -- just like Noesen did -- and Goodrow's show of courage in fighting Lucic was seen as the turning point of that victory. Boughner similarly was proud of Noesen for standing up for Ferraro, even if it didn't lead to a win.
"Yeah, we've talked about sticking up for each other and playing as a family," Boughner said. "Physically, I thought we were engaged all night. The emotion was there, I think, but it was one of those games where we were behind the play and every mistake we made sort of went bad."
The Sharks and Flames have one remaining regular-season matchup against each other in Calgary on Mar. 23. Don't expect Lucic to change his style of play for that one, and don't count on San Jose backing down, either.